Jane Lynch on Cory Monteith: "I don't think he left one day unlived"

Jane Lynch and Cory Monteith pose after winning award for favorite TV comedy for "Glee" backstage at the 2011 People's Choice Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Jan. 5, 2011, in Los Angeles. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Jane Lynch fought back tears as she remembered her "Glee" co-star Cory Monteith during an appearance Wednesday on "The Tonight Show."

Lynch, who was there promoting her new game show, "Hollywood Game Night," spoke to host Jay Leno about Monteith, who died last weekend at the age of 31.

"Cory had one of the biggest hearts, he was a real bright light," she said. "He knew he was breathing rarefied air -- the gift that this wonderful show gave us. He was one of those guys who was always aware that it was a gift."

"He was quite generous and one of those adventurous types of people. I always admired how he would get up and fly to Mexico. He'd throw parties for his friends. I don't think he left one day unlived," she added. "He was a really bright light in our family, and we've lost a really great guy."

When asked by Leno how she would want people to remember Monteith, Lynch, 53, replied, ""He once flew across the country on his own nickel to meet with a sick kid whose last wish was to meet him. That's the kind of guy he was. He was just a real giver."

Monteith was found dead in his Vancouver hotel room on Saturday. He died of a "mixed drug toxicity" of heroin and alcohol, according to the British Columbia coroner's office.

Lynch isn't the only "Glee" co-star to speak out about Monteith, who played lovable jock-turned-glee-clubber Finn Hudson.

Dianna Agron, who played Finn's onetime girlfriend Quinn Fabray, released a statement Wednesday, saying, "I have never lost a friend. In this difficult time, I am leaning on all of the wonderful memories we shared with Cory, how many ways he was able to make us smile. 'Glee' was a gift to all of us. It gave us a family in this industry. We really cut our teeth and grew up on this show. In playing underdogs, we learned that we had dug into the hearts of our viewers and that we could stay there.

"Cory is so deserving of that place in everyone's hearts," Agron continued. "He was one of the most generous and kind people that I have ever met. He had a smart, curious mind, he was an enormous talent. He was loving to not only me, but my family. My heart goes out to his family, to Lea, to everyone that is struggling with the loss of our friend. We will miss you Cory. We will always carry a piece of you with us."

Naya Rivera, who plays Santana, said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, "The entire 'Glee' family and I are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Cory was and always will be a part of my own family and a good friend. He was a special part of this world and will forever be missed. My heart goes out to Cory's family and Lea and while we are grateful for everyone's well wishes, privacy during this time of grief is greatly appreciated."

And reps for Lea Michele, Monteith's co-star and real-life girlfriend, released the following statement earlier this week: "Lea is deeply grateful for all the love and support she's received from family, friends, and fans. Since Cory's passing, Lea has been grieving alongside his family and making appropriate arrangements with them. They are supporting each other as they endure this profound loss together. We continue to ask the media to respect the privacy of Lea and Cory's family."

  • Jessica Derschowitz